I agree that this guy is just a pain.
I don’t get him either (as announakis put it).
I typically don’t summon in Souls games but there are exceptions and he is one of them (I also hate twin Princes because I don’t use shields and typically wear cloth/assassin/caster type setups)
Parrying is something I just never cared for in Souls (though the BB equivalent was pretty satisfying).
Many of my builds don’t even have the option and I don’t use it even when I have it. Years of playing the series, I never bothered with parrying.
So rest assured, nothing in the game ‘makes’ you have to learn it. It’s a tactic like any other, and aside form it just being poory implemented, I find nothing about it fun in this particular series. It’s gimmicky and eyeroll worthy at best (especially with big weapons). But that’s just my opinion.
There are at least 2 if not 3 NPC summons you can use for Pontiff. I haven’t played in almost a year, so I don’t remember exactly, but I know one should be a given while another (maybe 2 others) are dependent on quest lines.
They won’t kill Pontiff for you but they will keep him busy long enough for you to take him down in quick dps bursts. Just watch out, because he WILL spin on you, giving you little time to hit and run. I also immediately run passed him at the start of the fight, leading him into the main area so I can kite/hit and run him down the hallway.
When he starts to summon the dopplganger shade, make sure you are on Pontiff and not the clone, since this can be a decent window to combo him.
It’s really been awhile. But this is what I did for him pretty much every time.
Also. With this hit and run,utter chaos, lack-of-tactic tactic, it can sometimes be easier to do it solo, since it’s kind of a dps race to kill him, or at least get him very low, when he summons the first clone.
I’m pretty sure he does an aoe knockdown at the end of the cast. You can power chug through it if you are ballzy, but it can be a very bad idea.